Ivy League Word Games Undermine Human Dignity

In Isaiah 5:20 it says, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” At the time abortion was legalized, opponents of the procedure warned that, if this moral floodgate was opened, there would be no telling what might pour through that would further devalue human life overall and increasingly erode traditional taboos.

Those professing to be enlightened and progressive scoffed that such a claim was an over-exaggeration designed to elicit fear. However, in the thirty-plus years since the legalization of abortion, some of the nation’s most celebrated academics in the most prestigious publications are now advocating that we as a society do away with infants that do not live up to some standard while going out of their way to defend the rights of animals and criminals.

Princeton Professor of Bioethics Peter Singer, who advocates bestiality (giving a whole other connotation to the phrase a boy and his dog) and animals rights as epitomized by the Great Apes Project which argues gorillas and orangutans deserve many of the protections enjoyed by human beings, believes that it is permissible to kill an infant up until 28 days after birth because an infant is not self-aware nor worthy of personhood since the baby has no preferences concerning living or dying. Furthermore, such a course of action might be of benefit to the family.

Interestingly, Singer is not some lone crank that got hold of a bad batch of pot in the faculty lounge. Professor Steven Pinker, director of MIT’s Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, in the November 2, 2000 issue of the New York Times Magazine defended the practice of infanticide by suggesting that the killing of an infant should be treated differently than a person.

Pinker argues that we only have a right not to be killed if we have “an ability to reflect upon ourselves as a continuous locus of consciousness, to form and savor plans for the future, to dread death, and to express the choice not to die.” Thus, infants do not qualify for protections against murder, and may be disposed of without offense.

The fundamental issue of this debate is perhaps one of the most important of all in this day of unsettled foundations. That of course is the question of what exactly is a human being.

Both Singer and Pinker argue that newborns should not enjoy legal protection from on the part of parents or the medical establishment because they are not fully human since they have not reached a certain level of development. The traditional ethical position contends that the baby is entitled to the same protections from bodily harm as any other member of the human family. Though these two professors have countless accolades and honors heaped upon them for their acclaimed erudition, both science and Biblical teaching affirm the position considered outdated by influential opinion-makers.

From scripture, it clearly teaches, “Thou shalt not murder.” And though many theologians and Bible scholars grant an exception for the taking of human life in the case of self-defense in the case of war or when confronted by someone intent on doing bodily harm and in the case of capital punishment authorized by the Noahic covenant as spelled out in Genesis 9, in no way does an infant pose the kind of threat presented by these specific exceptions. Inconvenience just does not constitute that manner of bodily harm.

Jeremiah 1:5 says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.” In Psalms 139:13-16 it says, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;…My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.”

If the embryo inside the mother is not a distinct person in his own right, how is the Lord able to know a specific collection of cells apart from the mother? Life as a continuum from conception and gestation on through birth and maturation is further confirmed in Psalms 51:5 which says, “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” Nonpersons are not capable of existing in a state of sin.

Those with degrees as long as their arms cannot turn around and claim such speculations are ancient Hebrew superstitions. These prophetic revelations are confirmed by the very science the wonders of the modern world are based upon.

Both the fetus and the newborn are as genetically unique at these particular stages as the ethicists and physicians pondering the nuances of this philosophical quandary. Scott Rae writes, “(1) An adult human being is the end result of the continuous growth of the organism from conception. (2) From conception to adulthood, this development has no break that is relevant to the essential nature of the fetus. (3) Therefore, one is a human person from the point of conception onward (142).”

One of the most powerful arguments against both infanticide and abortion is that if you devalue human life at these stages, what is to prevent it from being devalued at other stages by radical utilitarians and the like? This is what happens when the standard suggested by both Peter Singer and Steven Pinker is employed.

For starters, what even is a “continuous locus of consciousness” and even if we knew, how many would even want to reflect upon it? Furthermore, even if one did, shouldn’t human value be based on something more than whether or not the individual is tickled pink at the prospect of his own belly button?

What if the individual does not temporarily possess the ability to reflect upon oneself as a “continuous locus of consciousness”; does this mean the disgruntled spouse has a window of opportunity each night to whack their mate as the sleep and get a get of jail free card? After all, during many stages of sleep one is not even aware of one’s surroundings much less one’s inner emotional workings.

The other criteria used to determine whether or not an infant is worthy of life are no less troubling. Both Pinker and Singer hold to a standard that an individual is not worthy of life unless one has the ability to ask to be kept alive.

If that is the case, if one slips on the ice and knocks themselves out, they had better come to before the ambulance gets there because who knows what organ hungry doctors would do if this criteria is allowed to play itself out. Before you know it, your kidneys and corneas could be on airplanes headed in multiple directions.

All joking aside, Pinker’s comments especially cause one to stop and pause to wonder if these remarks could be used to justify a sliding scale for human life not all that different than the blue books used by insurance companies to assess automobile depreciation. For example, Pinker says, to be worthy of life, one must savor plans for the future and dread death. Since the twenty-year old has more of these than the eighty-year old, doesn’t it then follow that it would be a greater offense to kill the twenty-year old than the eighty year-old? If the Professor has raised his children in light of such values, I trust for his own sake he does not let his guard down around them for fear of what he might find being plunged in his back as he ages.

Furthermore, who at some point in their lives (especially during the moody teenage years) hasn’t gone through a period where they didn’t care one way or the other whether life continued or not? Even if one is no where near jumping off the root of a building or suck fumes out of an exhaust pipe hasn’t gone through times where the thought did not transiently skip across out minds how much easier things would be if we simply didn’t wake up the next day. That did not mean that those around us had the right to do away with us.

It has been said that a society will be judged by how it treats its weakest members. If current academic opinion about how easily the unborn can be discarded is any kind of barometer, America could be in for a tumultuous twenty-first century.

By Frederick Meekins

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Evolutionists Outraged At County Fair Creation Science Displays

The July 2014 cover story of Earth: The Magazine Of The American Geosciences Institute warns “Creationism Comes To The County Fair’.

It is further cautioned “County fairs have proved good places for creationists to reach captive audiences”.

But aren’t these venues less captive than those in which evolutionists purvey their own propaganda?

For example, no one is forced to attend the county fair.

However, unless a child’s parents are able to scrimp together the tuition necessary to finance private education or are talented enough to educate their own children through homeschool, the vast majority of students will be bombarded by public school indoctrination where the science curriculum exudes doctrinaire Darwinism.

Secondly, if you attend the county fair and an offensive both grabs your attention, you are free to speed by.

However, if a child wants to successfully complete school, he must remain subjected to this teaching no matter how much it might ridicule the child’s most deeply held beliefs.

Thirdly, organizations must pay for the use of county fair booths.

However, educators are paid from public funds to ply the naturalistic perspective. County fairs are held in part in celebration of rural culture and values.

As such, as areas characterized by deep religious faith, creation science ministries and organizations should be encouraged to highlight this particular aspect of the American philosophical landscape.

By Frederick Meekins

Islamic Ideology is spreading ! Are you bearing good fruit for Christ ?

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Blessings warriors, Father put in my heart to remind folks today of a verse from Matthew Ch. 3, Verse 8; which is a quote from John the Baptist that states “Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance”.

Remember we are to go and minister Christ’s way for this life to all people.

I read today in the paper that Al Qaeda’s Extreme Islamic Ideology is spreading fast and if this is true then we as Christ’s chosen need to work twice as fast and hard to spread His teachings of Love, Tolerance and Faith to all we meet. Including our own brothers and sisters who already claim Christ in their hearts but fall short of living His ways.

Working with them to “recommit their lives to Him and reaffirm in them to live accordingly”. Being cautious of the temptations of this world and hold fast to the faith of their eternal salvation.

Not to take our gift of His sacrifice and our personal salvation lightly but, hold dear to us as we hold our love for those we love through Him, dear. Remembering to “Seek first the Kingdom and knowledge of God and all else will be given unto you and them”.

Sincerely IHS and yours, Bishop Andrew… (+)

A Christian Approach To Technology

In Jurassic Park, the chaos theorist played by Jeff Goldblum quipped that scientists were in such a hurry to find out if they could that they never took the time to consider whether they should when it came to resurrecting extinct dinosaurs through genetic cloning technology. The comment was quite profound as it also has considerable bearing on the application of similar technologies to the human species as well.

Futurists have estimated that nearly 90% of the knowledge today has been discovered within the past decade. This is especially true of scientifically complex fields such as biology and medicine.

Ethics is the branch of philosophy concerned with determining what is right and wrong. Bioethics attempts to apply these principles to issues relating to matters of life, its quality, and preservation. As such, it is a relatively new field of inquiry coming to prominence since the 1980’s.

As a new discipline, overall bioethics is underdeveloped with Christian involvement scantier than it ought to be. With its frontier flavor however, bioethics is not confined solely to those with doctorates in esoteric subjects. Rather it is a field needing input from a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives if mankind is to chart a balanced course into what was before now unexplored territory.

For example, many couples unable to have children on their own have turned to a number of fertilization techniques where egg and sperm are brought together outside the body for implantation inside the womb. While the practice has become quite commonplace, it is in fact fraught with a number of ethical dilemmas that need to be addressed by the church.

For starters, the reader will note that nowhere above is it spelled out that the sperm and the egg belong to the husband and the wife of the couple seeking to have a child. Sometimes these are donated — often bought and sold like farm produce — from total strangers, undermining the sanctity of the marriage covenant and no doubt unsettling the identity of the child should the offspring ever learn of his true parentage.

Yet of even greater concern in these procedures is when more eggs are fertilized than are needed. Since it can be concluded from Matthew 1:20 that fertilized eggs posses life, quite a dilemma develops over what to do with the leftover embryos.

If these individuals are disposed of, it becomes an act of murder. They can be placed into storage for up to seven years if the couple would like to have an additional baby in the future; but what happens if the couple divorces?

These conundrums and many others just like it are the result of the underlying worldview upon which much of contemporary culture rests. For since the days of the Renaissance, up through the Enlightenment and French Revolution and no doubt accelerated by Darwinism, no longer is God and His Word seen as the ultimate source of moral authority. Rather, the moral focus has switched to human autonomy in either the form of the individual or the state.

In the Book of Genesis, the student of Scripture learns that man is created in the image of God. As such, upholding this ideal preempts individual happiness when personal satisfaction comes into conflict with innocent human life.

Unfortunately, in this day the preservation of innocent human life often takes a backseat to “I want” and “me, me, me”. Such anxiety can drive the longing soul inward to concentrate on one’s own existential despair rather than outward towards those with even greater needs.

For example, a couple unable to have children on their own biologically wanting to have one — often pressured into it by members of the congregation and clergy thinking they know more about the will of God for other people than the people themselves — often turn to artificial fertilization these days rather than other ways to satisfy an otherwise humanitarian impulse such as adoption or other charitable pursuits.

Likewise, at the other end of the continuum of selfishness are those that, rather than coveting life so much that they would dishonor it by an illegitimate attempt to grasp at and possess it on their own terms rather than through God’s providence, that view life needing care beyond the ordinary in order to be maintained such as that at the beginning or end of temporal existence as an inconvenience to be done away with as soon as possible.

Those holding to the Biblical position of respecting the image of God within each individual irrespective of the physical frame’s condition would do what was within their power to defend the young under their responsibility and lend comfort to those passing out of this life on God’s timetable rather than according to some arbitrary definition of quality.

Furthermore, if those in their declining years were treated as human beings created in the image of God rather than as beasts of burden that have outlived their usefulness, senior saints might enjoy a better quality of life irrespective of their bodily circumstances.

By Frederick Meekins

Bioethics & Timeless Truths For Changing Times

The rate of technological and cultural change is so fast and comprehensive in these days in which we live that futurist Alvin Toffler has likened the phenomena to waves sweeping over society and labeled the feeling of disoriented perplexity that settles over us in the wake as “Future Shock”. Many of these changes appear to be so profound that the pressure to abandon traditional values and beliefs from academia, media, government, and even certain factions within organized religion can feel overwhelming. However, there is more at stake than whether we send letters to acquaintances via the post office or through the computer electronically. Rather, such radical shifts of the paradigms through which we sift reality and experience will ultimately impact how we see ourselves and how we value other human beings.

With the technical complexity inherent to many of the latest developments in the fields of biology and medicine, it is easy to fall for the assumption that ethics and morality in these disciplines would better be left to the highly educated such as scientists or philosophy professors. The field of bioethics is a relatively new area of study in comparison to the totality of human knowledge. Because of its frontier nature as ethically uncharted territory, it is a discipline in desperate need of a solid Christian presence as it is pretty much a wide open field in which the ambitious and enthusiastic can plant their flag in the hopes of persuading the masses as to the propriety of a respective position.

As Christians, it is the fundamental assumption of the believer that all truth is derived from God as revealed to us either directly from His word (the Bible), deduced from reflection upon His word, or discernable from His creation construed in the light of His word. II Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All scripture is given inspired of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” Likewise, Psalm 19:1 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the works of his hands (NIV).”

Since this is the case, God’s law is written across the whole of creation. Try as men might to ignore or escape these binding commandments, they ultimately cannot and are seared by their own consciences as evidenced by the responses that often border on violence as typified by homosexual militants reacting whenever someone responds with anything less than a standing ovation or lavish government subsidies for this particular lifestyle. Romans 2:14-15 says, “Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.”

Though the Bible might not address specific bioethical issues directly by name such as stem cells and cloning, a number of the Good Book’s foremost passages and doctrines serve as the foundation to a Christian response to these kinds of challenges arising in the world today. As the basis to all divine law contained within both the Old and New Testaments, the Ten Commandments serve as the guiding principles for all healthy relationships with both God and man. Prominent among these is the injunction “Thou shalt not murder.”

This admonition was not handed down arbitrarily just so God could laud his authority and power over us. Rather, this commandment was set in place as recognition of man’s unique status as a creature made in the image of God. Genesis 1:26-27 says, “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image’…So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” This image of God in each individual is so sacred that no individual should be able to take the life of another without serious consequences. Genesis 9:6 warns, “Whoever sheds the blood of man; by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man.”

Thus, the fundamental consideration in regards to these complex issues arising as a result of advances in biotechnology is that of personhood. As these scientific developments promise more and more of the things we as human beings crave the most in our earthly lives such as freedom from disease, prolonged life, or even enhanced abilities and children designed to our specifications, it becomes easier and easier to view other human beings as a means to achieve these goals for ourselves rather than as those whose lives we would like to see improved.

For while all of the issues raised in a cursory bioethics survey start off with noble-sounding justifications, when we look behind the lofty pronouncements, many of us would be shocked by the staggering numbers of bodies concealed behind the curtain. Perhaps one of the first bioethics debates to grip the public consciousness was no doubt abortion.

Those opposed to the practice argued that the procedure so dehumanized the unborn that the utilitarian allure of convenience would prove so seductive that the value would be invoked to justify the disposal of other members of the human family not measuring up to some arbitrary standard of productivity or quality of life. Since the time of its legalization, abortion has continued to divide the American electorate. This barbaric practice has been joined by a plethora of additional bioethical conundrums and outrages.

If anything, the potential of human cloning and the use of stem cells harvested from either fetuses falling victim to the abortionists knife or embryos purposefully formed in a laboratory to destroy in order to collect these genetic components garner even more headlines. At the other end of the spectrum of life, physicians are intervening to end the lives of those deemed a waste of recourses such as in the case of Terri Schiavo. This woman would have undoubtedly remained alive if she had not been denied basic nutrition and hydration, actions that could cause considerable legal trouble with the likes of PETA or the Humane Society should you decide to inflict such appalling mistreatment upon the family dog.

Even though the strongest and most direct moral case is the one that boldly stands upon the Word of God as its ultimate foundation, Western culture has become so “de-theized” (the very thing that causes human life to be devalued in the first place) that if one does not introduce these theories and concepts surreptitiously at first, one may find oneself excluded from the public policy debates where these kinds of decisions are made. In “Moral Choices: An Introduction To Ethics”, Scott Rae provides a framework through which the believer can introduce Biblical principles into these debates without initially coming across like some kind of “religious lunatic”. In today’s philosophical climate, all it takes to get that slur hurled at you is to question the prudence or propriety of the increasingly popular urge to copulate with anything that moves (or even with that which doesn’t according to the necrophiliacs who, if you search hard enough, probably endow a professorship at some prestigious university or a public interest lobbying group at some swanky office building not far from Capitol Hill).

A professor of Biblical Studies and Christian Ethics at the Talbot School of Theology, Rae shows that all truth is God’s truth and how the best philosophical thinking reflects this foundation. These seemingly disparate approaches to knowledge (faith and reason) find a connection through natural law. This approach to jurisprudence and ethics holds that there are certain principles binding upon all people with slight variations that produce the kinds of circumstances under which human beings thrive. These include the universality of heterosexual marriage, respect for private property, and prohibitions against murder.

“Moral Choices: An Introduction To Ethics” equips the reader to ferret out the hidden moral assumptions of those opposed to the Judeo-Christian approach to these issues. A number of the alternative ethical systems explored include utilitarianism (the right option is that producing the greatest good for the greatest number), ethical egoism (the morality of an act is determined by one’s self-interest), emotivism (morality is merely an enunciation of the inner feelings of an individual making an ethical pronouncement), and relativism (right and wrong change depending upon the context of a particular situation with there being no eternal absolute). It is emphasized that the advocates of these positions cannot accuse the Christian believer of bias and not being objective unless nontheists want to shoot themselves in the foot as well.

“Moral Choices: An Introduction To Ethics” provides the student with a multi-step framework of analysis that will assist the individual in weeding through complex issues that they may initially find intimidating and beyond their expertise but which can be more easily comprehended once boiled down to their constituent parts (105-107). These steps are listed as follows: (1) Gather the facts (one should obtain as much information about a specific case as possible). (2) Determine the ethical issues (these can be stated in the form of the conflicting claims at stake). (3) What principles have a bearing on the case (these are the principles at the heart of each competing position)? (4) List the alternatives (these consist of possible solutions to the moral dilemma). (5) Compare the alternatives with the principles (in this step one eliminates the possible solutions by determining their moral superiority or propriety). (6) Consider the consequences (in this step, one contemplates the implications of the alternatives). (7) Make a decision after analyzing and contemplating the information.

While this is important information, none of it will do any good unless Christians and those troubled by the disregard for human life sweeping across the culture get their message out to the wider public. Most will assume that as common everyday people not holding positions of influence in either academia, the medical profession, or within the formal ecclesiastical structure of the organized church that there is little that they can do to assist in this daunting struggle. However, with the advent of certain technologies as revolutionary to the realm of communications as the breakthroughs in genetic manipulation are to the field of biology, their voices can reach farther than they might initially imagine.

With technologies such as blogging and social media, independent voices laboring on their own (often derided by critics as geeks in pajamas) have coalesced into a source of opinion and information that in certain respects is coming to challenge the predominance of the mainstream media. Therefore, Christians can very easily use the new media to get their position out to the public regarding a wide range of bioethical issues.

Fundamental to the Christian understanding of the discipline is the pivotal role personhood plays regarding many of the issues at the forefront of bioethics. However, a number of voices within the Transhumanist movement (the ideology that humans should incorporate into their bodies mechanical or genetic enhancements so that the species might move beyond the the limitations inherent to our own nature) believe the definition of personhood should move beyond run of the mill human beings to include cyborgs, androids, and genetically engineered human/animal hybrids.

One doesn’t have to be an expert in robotics or genetics to warn of the human rights horrors that would likely result should such a line of research be allowed to advance too far beyond the stages of theoretical speculation. One merely need to have seen a few of the Borg episodes of Star Trek and point out what this kind of tinkering backed by a communistic outlook leads to.

The future is there for those that want it the most. It will either go to those that believe that the masses exist for the benefit of the elite as the push onward towards their New World Order. Or, it will go towards those that view each individual as being created in the image of God, existing within a framework of divine laws that allow the individual to live life to its fullest while protecting each of us from the dangers on the prowl in a fallen world.

by Frederick Meekins

An Analysis Of I Corinthians 15

To religious progressives wanting to at least acknowledge the morality of Jesus without having to acknowledge His rightful place as the Lord of the their lives, the resurrection of the body is viewed as a disposable dogma more suited for less scientific times when the masses of humanity were less capable of comprehending the harsh realities of life. Often the believer confronts this kind of thinking in contemporary academic forums such as the Quest for the Historical Jesus and the like. However, this attempt to undermine this teaching goes back even further among beloved historical figures from the past such as Thomas Jefferson who exorcised from the pages of the Bible those passages attesting to the miraculous truth. However, by analyzing I Corinthians 15, the believer is assured that the Resurrection is perhaps the most important doctrine in the pages of Scripture.

In verse 1, Paul points out that what he is about to teach is not some new doctrine pulled out of the sky but rather a reminder of the fundamental Gospel on which believers in the church have taken their stand often without regard to earthly consequences. In verse 2, Paul makes it known that the Gospel is not just a set of intellectual propositions but rather the message through which the believer is saved if they “hold firmly to the word I have preached to you” outside of which there is no hope.

Sometimes when confronted with the complexities of both daily life and raging religious debates, it is easy to neglect and even forget about the basics upon which our faith rests. Thus, in verses 3 and 4 Paul provides the Corinthians with a recap of the basic Gospel message which he summarized as the following: “that Christ died for our sins, according to the Scripture, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”

Either in an attempt to lull believers into lowering their discernment or, as in the case of the Neo-Orthodox to curry favor with the elites of academic theology, occasionally one will find that the cultured despisers of the old time religion will allow those comforted by traditional religious language to speak of some kind of belief in Christ’s Resurrection. However, these propagandists turn around and insist that at best the Resurrection be understood merely as a metaphorical or spiritual event meaning Jesus simply went on living in the memories of those that loved him or in a manner outside of verifiable empirical history.

In verse 5, the reader is told that the risen Christ appeared to Peter and then the Twelve. This is also a summation of Gospel accounts such as John 20 where Jesus appeared to His disciples in the Upper Room.

Some skeptics might dismiss such encounters, claiming that the Disciples were so fraught with grief and so beside themselves that they imagined seeing Jesus. However, from verse 6, we learn that Jesus appeared to over 500 believers and it is highly doubtful you could get 500 Jews to agree on anything unless they had witnessed it for themselves. And though it might carry slightly less resonance with us as it did for the Corinthians, at one time one could ask these 500 if what Paul wrote was true or not as at that time most of the witnesses were still alive.

In verse 7, it is pointed out that Jesus appeared to James. While the testimony is powerful that Jesus appeared to over 500 people, the resurrected Christ is further authenticated by appearing before his earthly half-brother who would have been more qualified than the 500 as a family member to expose someone masquerading as Jesus. While this report of what others experienced is sufficient to establish the veracity of Christ’s resurrection as a concrete historical event, in court first hand eyewitness testimony is considered a very powerful form of evidence. As such, in verse 8, for that reason Paul claims Christ appeared to him as well.

But whereas most would consider themselves superior to others if they had a tangible firsthand encounter with God, in verse 9 Paul does not consider himself worthy of being an apostle and views himself as the least among them because of his past persecution of the Church. This itself has implications in the life of the average person.

Often, some put off accepting Christ as their personal savior by claiming that Jesus would never accept them because of all the wicked things they have done. However, by accepting Paul into the ranks of apostleship, the average sinner is shown that, if we confess the error of our ways and repent of them under the shed blood of Christ, as I John 1:9 tells us, “He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

In verse 10, Paul admits that his turnaround was not the result of pulling himself up by his own sandalstraps but rather as a result of God’s own grace. From this, believers realize that what good ultimately comes about in their own lives is not the result of our own efforts but rather a result of God working through us. As it says in Isaiah 64:6, our righteousness is as filthy rags.

Even in our religiously turbulent times, the denial of the Resurrection sounds so foreign to our Christian ears that it is easy to assume that this heresy is a new development. However, it must be remembered that the Greco-Roman world was marked by (to utilize an overused phrase) considerable diversity. Paul writes, “But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say there is not resurrection of the dead?”

Such an inquiry would indicate that, even at this early stage in the history of the church, criticisms of the Resurrection were beginning to creep in doctrinally, possibly in part due to Neo-Platonic or Gnostic influences. For these philosophies tended to downplay the role and need for the body in the quest for spiritual enlightenment. For example, the Docetics believed that Jesus only appeared to have a body and was rather a spirit that could not really die or be resurrected.

In verse 13, Paul begins to expose the implications of just what it would mean if there was no resurrection from the dead. Paul bluntly states, “If there is no resurrection from the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.”

Some are so detached from what they believe that they would probably continue plodding along not caring one way or the other whether Jesus rose from the dead. It is not until the implications of certain ideas show up on the doorstep of our own existential predicament that we begin to sit up and take notice.

Thus, in verse 14, Paul draws the conclusion that, if Christ has not been raised, his preaching is useless and so is our faith. We are shown why this is true for a number of reasons.

In verse 15, it is pointed out that, if Christ was not resurrected, the Apostles such as Paul would be false witnesses about God. And if they cannot be trusted in this matter, why should they be trusted in others?

In verse 16, the subject is examined from a slightly different angle. Paul posits that, if the dead in an absolute sense do not rise in the body, then Christ has not been raised either.

In verse 17, Paul applies the issue of the Resurrection to a direct personal application by pointing out that, unless Christ has been risen from the dead, our faith is a waste of time. For as Christ Himself responded in Matthew 12:39-40 when asked for a sign authenticating His authority, “But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”

Adding to the personal repercussions if Christ is not raised from the dead, in verse 18 Paul provides an added shock observing that, if Christ has not been raised from the dead, the those asleep in Him (a polite way of referring to the dead) are lost. Anyone that has lost a loved one as a Christian knows that sometimes the only thing that enables you to cope with the big gaping hole in your heart is knowing that one day we will be reunited with them. As I Thessalonians 4:13 instructs, “Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope.” Because of this hope, we don’t cry because those we cherish have passed out of existence but rather in a manner more akin over someone that has moved away that we won’t have any contact with for what to us may seem to be many years or even decades to come.

Finally, to end this litany of despair regarding the ramifications if Christ did not rise from the dead, Paul flat out says in verse 19, “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pittied more than all men.” As stated previously, sometimes liberals and progressives think they are doing a magnanimous thing by enunciating an admiration for the so-called “ethics of Jesus”. However, if we simply end up as food for worms as G. Gordon Liddy mused one time on “The Tonight Show” before his own spiritual awakening, then turning the other cheek and putting others before yourself is a rather pathetic way to live if kindly and devout grandmothers end up with the same eternal reward as homicidal serial rapists.

Fortunately, Paul does not leave the reader on a decidedly glum note and in fact becomes markedly more positive with verse 20. Here it is reinforced that Christ has indeed risen from the dead as the firstfruits of those that have fallen asleep.

In verses 21-22, Paul shows how it is only logical that the Resurrection would be provided through Christ. Paul’s argument goes something like this: since death came through one man, the resurrection would also come through one man.

From Genesis 3, we learn that, as the forefather of the human race, as a result of his sin of eating the forbidden fruit, Adam brought death to all those to whom his sin nature was passed on. Therefore, since God the Father sent His Son into the world in the form of a sinless human being to live the sinless life we could not yet have to pay the price of the sins of the world through the shedding of His blood and being raised from the dead, if we acknowledge our sinfulness and what Christ did for us what we could not, then as our newly adopted federal head we are extended the privilege of enjoying our resurrection life in Heaven with Him throughout eternity.

In verses 23-28, Paul provides a rough chronology to the order of events connected to the Resurrection and the ultimate fulfillment of all things. In verse 23, it is pointed out that, as we already know, Christ was risen first as the firstfruits. We will be given our opportunity when He returns.

However, that will not be the sole purpose of Christ’s return. For at that time, according to verse 24, Jesus will hand the world over to God the Father after He has destroyed all earthly power and authority.

In verse 25, Paul informs us that Christ must reign until all His enemies are under His feet, the last of which, verse 26 tells us, is death. These verses coincide with Revelation chapter 25, describing the Millennial Kingdom particularly as that period draws to a close when Satan is released from the Pit to foment one last rebellion that is ultimately put down according to verses 7-10. In Revelation 20:14, death is cast into the Lake of Fire, becoming (as I Corinthians 15:26 tells us) the “the last enemy destroyed”.

In verses 27-28, the believer is given a glimpse into the distinctions within the Trinitarian Godhead. Verse 27 tells us that, while everything has been put under feet of Christ, that does not include the Father as it was the Father who put everything under Christ. In verse 28, Christ the son willingly subjects Himself to God the Father. This demonstrates that, while Christ is Himself God, He is Himself subject (though in perfect accord) to the will of the Father.

In verses 29-34, Paul returns to the theme of why should anyone even bother with Christianity if the Resurrection is a fiction. In verse 29, Paul asks, “Now if there is no resurrection, what will those do who are baptized for the dead?” If there is no future hope for the dead, why should we express any formalized concern for them?

Throughout this chapter, Paul has primarily analyzed the logical implications that would result if the Resurrection was not an actual event. However, in verses 30-33, we can easily pick up on the emotion and passion the Apostle feels in connection with the issue.

In verse 30, Paul asks point blank, “And as for us, why do we endanger ourselves every hour? I die every day…just as surely as I glory over you in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Paul is asking why should he bother risking his behind if its all for nothing anyway.

Often in Christian circles, it is portrayed that serving in the Lord’s will is all sunshine and moonbeams here in this life, forgetting that in this life we will have trouble. Paul makes it known in verse 31 that, even though he found much glory in his labors on behalf of his fellow believers, he died a bit everyday as of a result of these hardships.

Bringing this line of analysis to a conclusion in verse 32, Paul observes that, if he fought wild animals in Ephesus for merely human reasons, what had he gained and if the dead are not raised one might as well “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” While this quote is from Isaiah 22:13, it is also a summation of the Epicurean philosophy prominent throughout the Greco-Roman world at that time. It was the contention of this perspective that, since this world was all the individual had, the best one could hope for was to maximize pleasure, minimize pain, and look to one’s own interests while in pursuit of this goal.

From verse 35 onwards, Paul for the most part examines what the Resurrected and their bodies will be like. In verse 35, the question on everybody’s mind is asked: “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?”

Since most of us are buried in the ground after we die, in verse 36-40, Paul likens the process of the resurrection to the planting of a seed. As such, our earthly bodies that are subject to decay and death serve as a kind of seed from which God will bring forth our glorified bodies, each after its own kind.

Though there will be similarities between our old bodies and our resurrection bodies, they will also be marked by considerable differences. In verse 42, it is observed, “The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable.” Thus, unlike the old body, the resurrection body is not subject to death.

From verse 43, we learn this is because the resurrected body of the Christian will no longer be marred by the stain of sin. The text reads, “it is sown in dishonor [a reference to original sin passed down through our parents all the way back to Adam and Eve], it is raised in glory.” In verse 44, we learn that while the body is sown as a natural body, it is raised as a spiritual body.

In verses 45-49, we learn that the natures of these are derived from the federal heads to whom those possessing them belong. In verse 45, it is stated that the natural body traces back to Adam whereas the incorruptible body comes as a result of the finished work of the last Adam, Jesus, being “a life-giving spirit.”

It would be easy from this to dismiss the natural body entirely as was the tendency of certain Gnostic sects of the ancient world. However, as Paul points out in verse 46, the natural body came first before the spiritual. In terms of human beings, one cannot have one without the other.

In verses 47-48, Paul examines a number of the differences derived from the natures of the first and second Adams. Verse 47 informs us that the first man cam from the dust of the earth whereas the second man, Christ, came from Heaven.

Since Adam and Christ are the two respective heads of the human race in terms of representing redemptive states, their respective followers take on a number of their characteristics. Verse 48 says, “As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven.” As those, those still in Adam remain in sin and are subject to the penalties of being in such a state. Those found in Christ are no longer subject to the eternal penalty of their sins.

In verse 50, Paul announces that flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. Thus, we are provided with the primary reason why we much undergo this transformation from, to the use words found at the end of the verse, from the “perishable” and into the “imperishable”.

It is usually assumed that one cannot enter this glorified state without having first partaken of death’s bitter taste. However, in verses 51-52, Paul reveals that, for all Christians, such will not be the case. According to the text, in the twinkling of an eye (even quicker than a blink) when the lat trumpet sounds and the dead are raised, those living at that time will be instantaneously changed.

Verse 53 reminds us of the lesson learned in verses 42-44 that this transformation of our very nature signals death’s ultimate defeat as it will no longer hold any power in the end over the redeemed child of God. In verse 55, a bit of a taunt is rubbed in the face of death when the passage reads, “Where, O Death, is your victory? Where, O Death, is your sting?”

From verse 56, it is clarified that the sting of death is sin and the power of sin is the law. However, as is proclaimed in verse 57, God gives the believer victory over these things through Jesus Christ. Since He takes away our sins and takes them as far as the east is from the west according to Psalms 103:12, these transgressions do not leave a lasting stain if we ask for forgiveness.

In verse 58, Paul ends on a note of victorious encouragement. Echoing words similar to the comforting truism of if the Lord is for us, who can be against us, Paul admonishes Christians to stand firm, let nothing move them, and to give ourselves fully to the work of the Lord because of labor is not in vain. Without the Resurrection provided by the work of Christ, the most anyone could hope for is the cold sleep of the grave. However, such physical affliction is ultimately temporary as a result of His triumph.

In “Star Wars”, Obi-Wan Kenobi warns Darth Vader that, should the Sith lord decide to strike him down, the Jedi master would become more powerful than could possibly be imagined. Though a fictionalized scene since as soon as Kenobi was struck down by Vader’s blade Kenobi began to instruct Luke in the ways of the Force from beyond the grave, the sentiment is one echoed in the hope that the Christian has a life beyond this one not subject to the same drawbacks, restraints, and letdowns that plague is the few brief years that we trod this earth.

by Frederick Meekins